October 23, 2019 / 5:49 PM / a month ago

Storms batter southern France, flooding some towns

BEZIERS, France (Reuters) - Storms and heavy rain lashed through southern France on Wednesday, causing flooding strong enough to sweep away cars in some towns in the region.

In the city of Argeles-sur-Mer in the Pyrenees-Orientales department, one vehicle ended up wedged on top of a traffic bollard.

Across the region, streets and roads have been severely damaged and covered with mud, forcing residents to clean up. Blocks of cement have been moved by flood water.

“I’ve never seen water rise that fast. I’ve lived here for 20 years and this is the first time,” Jean-Louis, a retiree in Servian, near Beziers, told Reuters TV.

France’s national weather authority said storms and heavy rains could continue through to Thursday.

It also said on its website that 12 centimetres (4.72 inches) of rain had fallen in less than three hours in the Bezier area of Herault department.

Rainfall reached 16.5 cm (6.5 inches) in 24 hours in the city of Beziers.

Reporting by Alexandre Minguez; Writing by Matthieu Protard; Editing by Jan Harvey

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